HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — Thursday marks eight months since a bus crash on I-81 sent 31 people to the hospital.

On Wednesday some of the Lancaster County survivors thanked first responders at the Penn State Health Life Lion hangar.

It’s not often patients get to follow up with the EMTs who helped them or vice versa, so it was an opportunity during National EMS week to thank them.

The September bus crash in Schuylkill County is still fresh on the minds of those who were inside and those who responded.

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“It presented a very challenging rescue for us as first responders. It was into trees. The front of the bus was elevated about 10 feet off the ground and it was about 100 yards into the woods,” said EMT Brian Musolino with Penn State Health Life Lion.

Members of LCBC church based in Manheim were headed back from a retreat on a charter bus that ran off the road. Sharon Keihl was one of the group leaders with 30 others on board, including many high school students.

“I specifically remember the first responder. He checked me right away, he checked my back and he’s like, do not move her,” Keihl said.

Keihl was flown to Hershey with severe injuries, resulting in back fusion surgery.

The celebration was a chance to thank some of those first responders in person for the first time.

“Thankfully, I haven’t had any weakness or loss of mobility, but it’s because of the way that they’re so professional and they knew what they were doing that that I don’t have you know, worse injuries than I do,” Keihl said.

LCBC Manheim Pastor Kevin Mahan is grateful.

“We just want to say thank you, being the experts, the hands, the feet, the voices of comfort when we couldn’t be there. Just incredibly grateful for how they serve our community,” Mahan said.

Some are still recovering but all survived.

“We never generally get to see those patients or even hear how they did after the fact. So it is very rewarding to get to see them up talking and doing well. And just coming in and saying thank you, even though we don’t expect a thank you,” Musolino said.

Life Lion was one of several ambulance and fire companies that helped take patients to Penn State Health in Hershey as well as Geisinger and Lehigh Valley hospitals.